The Centre has conferred the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, on Indian-origin tech moguls Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, the CEOs of Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, respectively. Serum Institute of India Managing Director Cyrus Poonawalla, whose company has been at the forefront of the country’s vaccination drive against Covid-19, has also been named among the Padma Bhushan awardees.
Olympians Neeraj Chopra, who won India’s first-ever track-and-field gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Pramod Bhagat, and Vandana Kataria, and singer Sonu Nigam will be awarded the Padma Shri. Another prominent athlete included in the list of Padma Shri awardees is Sumit Antil, who won gold medal with a world record throw of 68.55m in the javelin F64 event at the 2020 Summer Paralympics.
Kalyan Singh, a BJP stalwart and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, and General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff who recently died in a helicopter crash, will be posthumously honoured with the Padma Vibhushan.
Among other prominent names in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees are Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, former West Bengal chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Union Minister and chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Tata Group Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, former finance secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, Bengali actor Victor Banerjee, and Odia author Pratibha Ray.
Joining Poonawalla in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees are Krishna and Suchitra Ella, whose Bharat Biotech developed India’s first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19. Covaxin, which has since received emergency-use approval from the World Health Organization, is also the only vaccine to be administered among adolescents in India.
This year, the President has approved the names of 128 individuals for the Padma awards — four for Padma Vibhushan, 17 for Padma Bhushan, and 107 for Padma Shri.